We only clean our carpets every once in a while because it’s a tedious job. Of course, a big part of why it’s tedious is because it can be hard to dry it out after cleaning. 

Carpets and moisture will never be friends. If you leave your carpet wet or slightly damp for a long time, it’ll create an unpleasant odour.

So, how to dry a carpet after cleaning? We created a guide to show you the easiest way to do it.

Let’s get started!

Why Is It Important to Dry Your Carpet After Cleaning?

Leaving the carpet wet after cleaning or water leakage could completely ruin your carpet and flooring. 

The carpet might look OK to you on the surface, but you’ll find the real problem when looking at the padding. When the area between the padding and floor stays damp, it creates a perfect environment for mould and mildew to grow. 

It only takes 24 to 48 hours for a mould infestation to develop in this small area. It is hard to get rid of such infestation, especially if it attacks a big space. 

Even if the infestation isn’t severe, the moisture will create an odour, and unless you take the carpet out, it’ll persist.

How to Dry a Carpet After Cleaning?

You might need to use a couple of methods to make sure that your carpet is completely dry. Here are a couple of practical ways to dry out your carpet successfully:

Leave Your Windows Open

Since we usually can’t hang-dry our carpets outside as we do with clothes, the simplest way to mimic that is by creating sufficient airflow in the room. 

Leave the windows open to let fresh air come into the room and dry out your carpet. It also prevents any musty, damp odours from accumulating in the room. 

Do the same thing if you have a door in the room that opens up onto the garden or patio. If you have two windows opposite each other in the same room, open one entirely and leave the other slightly opened. 

This creates a strong crosswind that will dry your carpet much faster. But, of course, this method depends entirely on the weather.

If you’re during the winter season or live in a humid environment, consider trying any other methods mentioned below. 

Turn On Your Ceiling or Standing Fan

Another way to create an airflow is to turn on your fan. This is especially effective if you have a ceiling fan right above the carpet. 

If you don’t have a ceiling fan, then a standing or desk fan can work. Maybe not as efficiently as a ceiling one, but they still work. 

You’ll need to locate your standing or desk fan to directly face your carpet. If you have two standing fans, you can place them on each side of the rug. 

They will do the same effect as the two opposite windows.

Rent a Wet/Dry Vacuum

If you can’t implement any of the two methods mentioned above, the best thing you can do is rent a wet/dry vacuum. This type of vacuum isn’t a typical home appliance. 

However, you can rent one from a carpet cleaning company. Wet/dry shop vacs are strong enough to suck up water as well. That’s why they’re recommended to dry out carpets if you can’t dry them out with fresh air. 

What you need to do is to wait for an hour or two after cleaning before starting the drying process. Then, by using the largest vacuum attachment, pass the vacuum over the carpet. 

This allows you to suck up most of the water faster. After one pass with the shop vac, you can use a smaller attachment to repeat the process. 

Make sure to wear clean shoes because you’ll have to walk on the carpet. This method can be pretty tedious, especially if you’ve never used this type of vacuum before. 

Expose Your Carpet Padding 

This method works when only the carpet’s padding is wet. You need to make sure that the surface of the carpet is dry first, whether you vacuum the water or let it dry with fresh air. 

After the surface of the carpet has been dried, pull back the corners of your carpet. If you have a wall-to-wall carpet, you’ll need to use pliers to pull the fibres of the carpet around. 

Place a fan near the padding to dry it out. You can also place a blow dryer or vacuum hose underneath the padding to speed up the drying process. 

Do Carpets Take a Long Time to Dry?

Yes, it does take time for your carpet to completely dry out. However, this depends on several factors. 

Small rugs can take about six hours to fully dry. Professionally cleaned carpets take about the same time to dry out. 

The drying process might take a day or more for a bigger carpet, especially if the weather is humid. 

It would be a whole different story if your rug or carpet got wet due to a flood or water leak. It can take up to three days to be completely dry in this case.

How to Make Sure That My Carpet Is Thoroughly Dry?

There are three ways to figure out if your carpet is thoroughly dry:

  • Touch the fabric with your hands. Is it still damp? Make sure to touch different areas of the carpet. Some places might dry faster than others. 
  • Smell the carpet. Do you still smell a musty, damp odour? If yes, then it’s still wet. 
  • Lastly, inspect the padding of the carpet. If it’s still wet, you need to repeat the drying process. 

What to Do if My Carpet Is Still Damp?

If, after you’ve tried one or two of the above drying methods, your carpet is still wet, you might want to try using baking soda. Baking soda is good at absorbing moisture as well as foul odours. 

Sprinkle a good amount of baking soda on your damp carpet and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Then, vacuum all the baking soda. 

It’s essential to use this method when your carpet is still damp and not entirely wet. It might help with a wet carpet, but you’ll still have to use another drying method after. 

Final Words

Don’t hesitate to call a professional if the job is too much for you. This is especially if you’re dealing with a large carpet or wall-to-wall carpeting. 

Sometimes when a carpet that covers the entire room gets wet after a flood or a water leak, the moisture might spread to the walls and floors. 

This might cause serious damage to your walls and lead to serious mould infestation. In this case, it’s better to call a professional.